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How To Clean Carpets With Baking Soda & Vinegar [The Right Way]

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Best for recent spills

Using a mixture of salt and water can clean recent stains made from spilling wine or dropping food.
Tetra Images/Getty Images

To respond to a new stain, Gurskyi recommends another common kitchen item: salt. Salt can help absorb liquid stains like spilled wine before they set. The granular property of salt also makes it easy to vacuum up the mess. For stains that are already set in, the granular salt also gives your scrubbing a bit of extra abrasion, which can help lift the stain quickly. Be sure you’re applying this treatment either immediately after a spill. 

How to use it

1. Blot the stain with a rag to remove most moisture.

2. Sprinkle salt onto the stain, covering it thoroughly, and leave it for five minutes. 

3. Pour a small amount of cold water onto the stain. 

4. Scrub with a soft brush for one minute. 

5. Rinse with a damp cloth and blot dry.

Depending on the severity of the stain, you may need to use vinegar and baking soda to finish off cleaning the stain. 

Why Do So Many Experts Recommend Using Baking Soda on Carpets?

Know that the true experts do not recommended using baking soda on carpets.

Below are some thoughts we have on why baking soda is still recommended and used on carpets.

  • Ease of access: almost everyone has baking soda at home as it is a multi-purpose cleaning product
  • Baking soda is much more affordable than having your carpets professionally cleaned
  • Some people’s carpets and vacuums are very old so they may not be as concerned about the issues baking soda can cause
  • It is a natural product that you can feel safe using around kids and pets
  • Bicarbonate of soda is not irritating to the eyes or skin
  • It can neutralize bad odors

Removing Pet Odors and Smells from Carpet

  If you’ve got pets, then you know that along with their usually loving and joyful personalities can come some not-so-lovable smells. These smells can come from “accidents” in the house, or they can simply accumulate in areas where your pets hang out because of repeated exposure. Pet odors can not only be embarrassing if you have company over, but they can also become unbearable for you and others living with you if they’re not addressed.

But thankfully, baking soda can do the trick for getting rid of those pet smells.

If you find that one or more of the rooms in your house has a general “pet smell” from the animals just being there frequently, you can start by simply sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda over the entire carpet and allowing it to sit for a few hours. This should give the baking soda time to absorb the odors coming from the carpets. Then, you simply vacuum it all up!

If, however, your pet smells stem from more concentrated sources such as urine, then you’ll need to either treat them as a non-greasy stain above, or take it a step farther and add some vinegar to the mixture.

Removing Greasy Stains

If you have little kids in the house, you probably spend a lot of your time removing greasy stains from your carpets.

Greasy stains such as those from oil or face creams are challenging to clean because they leave behind very stubborn marks. However, there is no stain that a handful of baking soda can’t remove.

For a greasy stain, you first need to blot up as much of the grease as possible with the help of a paper towel. Make sure that you blot it by patting down the paper towel.

Avoid rubbing the grease because that will make the stain worse by setting it deep into the carpet. Once the blotting is done, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on the stain and let it sit overnight.

Doing the above will allow the soda to absorb as much grease as possible, which will make it easier for you to remove the stain.

Many homeowners often hesitate to use baking soda on a wet carpet, especially in the case of a wet, greasy stain. However, it is perfectly safe to use it on a damp carpet since it helps in drying.

Vacuum the stained areas properly the next morning, and in case the grease marks are still there, try blotting with soapy water and a towel.

Removing Grease Stains with Just Baking Soda

  To figure out which method you need to use, you’ll first need to determine whether you’re dealing with a greasy or non-greasy stain. A greasy stain is one which has an underlying residue of an oily or fatty nature, and it is produced by products like cooking oils and butter, machine lubricants, and even some beauty products like lotions and hair gels.

If you’re dealing with a greasy stain, you’ll need to use the following steps:

  1. Start by blotting up as much of the grease as you can, using a white paper towel or cloth rag. Never use colored towels, and never rub the stain, as this can damage your carpet and spread the grease further or transfer the colorful dye to your carpet.
  2. Once you’ve blotted up as much of the grease as possible, you should sprinkle dry baking soda over top of the stain. You should not wet this baking soda with anything because it needs to absorb as much of the grease or oil as possible, but water will not allow it to do this.
  3. Next, you’ll need to allow the baking soda to sit (don’t rush this – the longer it sits, the more grease it will absorb). It is best to wait until the next morning.
  4. Then, you’ll need to vacuum the area and inspect the stain.

Hopefully your stain will be gone, but if it isn’t you can either repeat the process as stated with just baking soda (to remain natural) or you can help it along by adding some dish soap. To do this, you should follow these steps:

  1. Blot some dish soap directly into the stain to help remove the grease.
  2. Next, take some water and some clean towels or rags to slowly soak up all of the soap. Remember: don’t rub! Just blot it up slowly.
  3. Dry the area until it is only slightly damp, then repeat the process with the baking soda as many times as needed.

Once you’ve followed this process, you should see that the stain has been removed completely and any odors should be gone as well.


Carpets are a beautiful addition to enhance the beauty of your floor. However, it requires cleaning to look good. Cleaning a carpet is an easy process. If you systematically carry on all the steps, your carpet will be as good as new after each clean and will remain good for a long time.

Ways to Deep Clean Carpet

Eventually, carpet will need to be deep cleaned to remove heavy soil, restore the buoyancy of the fibers, and brighten the color. Most professional carpet cleaning services use a combination of detergents and steam to deep clean carpet and recommend cleaning at least once per year. Or, you can rent a heavy-duty steam cleaner and use the recommended carpet shampoo. Using a professional cleaning service or renting a machine is particularly efficient if you have wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the home, but that can be costly.

For do-it-yourselfers, there are smaller carpet cleaners that can be used with liquid carpet shampoo or dry shampoo products. You can also deep clean area carpets and even wall-to-wall carpeting with some simple products and tools you probably have in your pantry.

How to soften a carpet after cleaning

If you want to soften your carpet, Gurskyi says you can use a laundry fabric softener like Downy since carpets are made from the same basic fiber types as clothing. 

To make a carpet softener solution, mix half a cup of fabric softener, one gallon of hot water, one cup of clear vinegar, and one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent. Put the mixture into a spray bottle, and lightly spray the carpet until it’s damp. Use a soft brush to work the solution into the carpet, and then allow the carpet to dry. 

Clean With Baking Soda and Salt

  1. Vacuum and Pretreat Stains

    Vacuum or sweep the carpet to remove loose soil and then follow the recommendations on a stain removal chart to remove visible stains.

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  2. Mix Baking Soda and Salt

    In a small bowl or bucket, mix a one-to-one mixture of baking soda and salt. The salt can be table salt or Kosher salt. Fill a spray bottle with cold water.

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  3. Sprinkle, Spritz, and Scrub

    Liberally sprinkle the carpet with the baking soda and salt mixture. You may find it easier to work in a grid pattern starting in a corner and working toward an exit.

    After sprinkling, spritz the area with a spray bottle filled with plain water. The carpet should be very damp, but not sopping wet. Use a scrub brush to work the baking soda deeper into the carpet fibers. Go in one direction and then at a 90-degree angle to help lift the soil.

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  4. Wipe, Dry, and Vacuum

    After scrubbing, use old towels or rags to wipe away the loosened soil. It is fine to leave a bit of baking soda in the fibers. Allow the carpet to air-dry completely. Use a vacuum to remove any remaining baking soda left in the fibers. The carpet should smell fresher and look brighter.

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

About this article

Co-authored by: Haim Shemesh Carpet & Rug Cleaning Specialist This article was co-authored by Haim Shemesh. Haim Shemesh is a Carpet and Rug Cleaning Specialist and the Owner of Sunlight Fine Rug Care & Restoration, a business based in New York City. Haim specializes in Oriental, Persian, handmade, and antique rug cleaning and repair. He also conducts rug restoration along with fire damage care. He has over 17 years of experience in the carpet cleaning industry. Sunlight Fine Rug Care & Restoration has been awarded Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2017 and 2018. Their clients include Staples, Ace Hotel, Momofuku, Banana Republic, and more. This article has been viewed 731,529 times. 52 votes – 97% Co-authors: 11 Updated: August 10, 2021 Views: 731,529

Article SummaryX

To deodorize carpet with baking soda, start by vacuuming it so it’s as clean as possible. Then, pour a liberal amount of baking soda over the parts of the carpet you want to deodorize. After you’ve covered the carpet with baking soda, scrub it into the carpet fibers using a dry sponge. Let the baking soda sit for several hours so it has time to absorb all of the bad odors. Finally, vacuum up the baking soda and when you’re finished, your carpet should be odor-free. If you want to learn how to wash your carpet before you apply baking soda, keep reading the article!

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Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 731,529 times.

Removing Stains with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Baking soda has great absorbing properties while vinegar is known for removing even the hardest stains of fabric due to its tough acetic acid. Combining the two is truly hard to beat. Here is how to create the mixture.


  • Paper towels
  • Vacuum
  • Bucket/spray bottle


  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Baking soda


  1. Blot the stain dry by using a paper towel. Just a gentle blot, don’t rub. Rubbing can only spread the stains more. Add more paper towels if needed. Make sure the spot is completely dry.
  2. Get a bucket or an empty spray bottle and mix water and vinegar together. These two should be in equal parts. So, when you use 2 cups of water, use 2 cups of vinegar as well. Soak the stained area with this solution. This will cut through stubborn stains and neutralise the smell making the dirt easy to remove.
  3. Scrub the beast stain the hard way. Carpet is composed of the thick fabric layer. You cannot remove the dirt if you just scrub it lightly. Scrub hard but not too much like causing the fibers to damage. For super bad smells and stains. Use 100% vinegar solution as vinegar alone is more powerful.
  4. This time, pour the baking soda. Do this while the area is still wet. Add a little vinegar then. Just vinegar, something not vinegar and water mixture. You will see fizzing and cackling afterwards which means the cleaning starts to work. Gently rub the baking soda deep down the carpet fibres for all-out cleanliness.
  5. Leave the baking soda on the carpet overnight. Sometimes it would take a day or two. Let it dry completely. Vacuum the baking soda right away. Your carpet will look really good after this.


For hard to get urine or stains, you may call a professional carpet cleaner for they use extensive water extraction methods suitable for tougher stains.

Knowing how to clean carpet with vinegar and baking soda is just easy with this recipe. All you need to do is to take a small amount of vinegar and baking soda solution and pour it over the affected area of the carpet. Wait a few hours for it to dry. Do a little brushing then you are good to go.

How to use vinegar with your steam cleaning machine

First of all, let me start by saying…


Owning a carpet steam cleaner is one of the most important things when it comes to keeping your carpet clean. If someone owns a carpet steam cleaner, it usually means that their carpet is clean. If they don't, it usually means it's not as clean as it could be.

If you don't yet own a carpet steam cleaner, check out our post on the best carpet steam cleaners of 2021. You won't regret it!

Anyway, let's get started with the step by step process on how to clean your carpet with vinegar and your carpet steam cleaner (instead of those chemical based cleaners).

Step 1: Clean all the stains

This is actually more like a "step 0".

Before steam cleaning your carpet, you might want to look for stains and clean them individually before you clean all the carpet.

Sure, steam cleaning should help remove the stains, but it will be even more effective if you've tried to clean every stain the way it's supposed to.

Step 2: Create the solution

You'll have to read the steam cleaners instructions in the manual.

Some steam cleaners recommend diluting the cleaning solution (white vinegar in our case) with water. Some others ask you to pour the solution on the tank directly. Just do what the manual says and you should be alright!

Step 3: Steam clean and wait

Step 3: Steam clean and wait

When you start steam cleaning you'll get a very strong smell. I honestly hate it! But the smell will way away as the carpet dries. So you'll be fine!

BTW, if you're in the market for a new steam c

BTW, if you're in the market for a new steam cleaner, you should check out the one on the picture! It's quite impressive for such a price! You can check it on Amazon here. Or simply click the image below:

Get Rid of Baking Soda Residue

One primary concern that some people might have is how to get baking soda out of a carpet. It is possible that even after a thorough vacuuming, your carpet still gives off a strong scent of baking soda.

The best way to get baking soda remains out of your carpet is by soaking a clean sponge in a mixture of water and vinegar. Dab the sponge on the affected area and then let it dry.

If the residue on the carpet is already dry, try vacuuming it up. Rub the residue with a brush to loosen it so that it can be vacuumed up.

If that doesn’t work either, use a steam cleaner if you have one. If you don’t own a steam cleaner, you can always rent one for emergencies.

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